How to: wash your delicate woollen wear

Prone to shrinking and touchy to care for? Not anymore.

The winter wardrobe essentials responsible for keeping us cosy during the annual chill are firm contenders for man’s best friend. But the task of keeping them in tip top condition is known to be notoriously difficult. We’ve all mourned the shrinkage of a favoured sweater after our careless hope-for-the-best attitude sees us surrendering knitwear to the washing machine. So to ensure your woollens remain as new this season we’ve researched the best way to undertake disaster-free washing.

The basic process:
Step 1: Fill a bucket with tepid water (29 degrees Celsius) before adding a touch (1/2 tablespoon per litre) of gentle detergent, we recommend Ecostore’s Delicates and Wool Wash; mix through the water by hand.
Step 2: Once the bucket is full, submerge the garment. To ascertain whether soaking, swishing, agitating or squeezing is best, consult the breakdown below.
Step 3: Once washing process is complete, gather the garment in your hands and lift it out of the water; ensuring it’s contained within your grasp to prevent any stretching or pulling out of shape.
Step 4: Refill the bucket with fresh tepid water without detergent. Re-submerge the garment back in the water, squeezing it until soap bubbles no longer appear. Repeat with fresh buckets of water for as long as necessary – until all the bubbles have gone.
Step 5: Lift garment out of the final rinse and squeeze to release excess water but do not wring.
Step 6: Lay garment in between a dry towel (making a sweater sandwich), taking care to smooth out wrinkles and reshape before rolling your sweater sandwich from the top of the garment down, squeezing gently as you go. Repeat process with another dry towel if necessary.
Step 7: Transfer to another dry towel or mesh drying rack in the shade where you will need to smooth out wrinkles, reshape if necessary. It’s imperative to ensure all parts of the garment are supported as it dries.

Merino
Thanks to the high-country residence the sheep keep, merino is finer, denser and softer than typical wool. Let it soak for three to five minutes in the detergent before rinsing. Turning merino garments inside out before washing can also help preserve their pristine appearance.

Lambswool
As the name suggests, lambs wool is derived from the inaugural shearing of a seven-month-old sheep, resulting in a fine, soft wool that requires minimal processing. However, due to the treatment of these spun fibres or lack thereof, agitation when washing is a no-no (this means gently squeezing and swishing but not rubbing together).

Cashmere
It’s the downy, short hair closest to the cashmere goat’s skin that is the difference between cashmere and cashmere. Clean the delicate fibres by swirling in circular motions for two to five minutes, being careful not to pull or rub it against itself; and take extra care with steps 3 and 5 above.

Mohair
Courtesy of the Angora goat, this fibre is actually resistant to shrinkage. To wash, gently agitate every five minutes to dislodge dirt and spin to rid excess water. Tumble drying is not only out of bounds, it is also unnecessary since mohair dries fairly quickly on its own. Once dry from sitting on a flat surface in the shade, briskly shake and gently brush with a soft hair brush to restore pile to its prime position. It is advised to keep washing to a minimum when it comes to mohair as this can affect the pile in the long run and cause it to lose its sheen.

Angora
Not only are garments made from angora softer than cashmere, they are also significantly more fragile. Similar to lambs wool, agitating angora is a bad idea. Instead, soak for 20 minutes, swishing every five minutes to dislodge dirt. Dry in a cool, shady spot as heat and sunlight can cause angora to shrink.

Ecostore’s Delicates and Wool Wash‘s gentle pH balance formulation uses sustainably sourced plant and mineral based ingredients wherever possible so each wash is kinder to your skin and especially suited to those with sensitive skin or allergies. 

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